By Dawn Cooke
I am speaking to you from deep within the trenches of this silent war. I reside inside of the tattoo community. I’m deep within the middle ranks of those that have lasted over 10 years in the trade. There is a war between the real traditionalists who are true to their craft and the tattoo rock and roll super star wanna-bes. This is more of a mentality than it is a style per se.
What I mean is that there are those of us who love tattooing for it’s rich history and the purity of the art form and then there are those of us who only care about what tattooing can get them. Some of us are in it purely for the art sake others are here for an ego boost. So with that said here are the reasons the tattoo community hates reality TV, without being too obvious. Plus some great new artists I have come to know about!
- These shows and people who make them are missing the point altogether. Tattooing is counter culture not consumer culture. It’s theorized that all counter culture eventually becomes consumer culture. But tattoos aren’t like dollar store trinkets that you throw away in a year, made in some Chinese factory. Tattoos are permanent and what makes a tattoo good is it’s longevity as the skin is aging.
- They have no idea about the richness of history that is continually being shaped and unearthed regarding tattoo culture nor do they seem to have any genuine interest in it.
- They mindlessly exploit the culture on a whole that most of us in the trenches hold sacred. The culture that we live, love, and have tried to make meaningful contributions to… they’re trying to cash in on something they have no clue or concern about!
- They claim to be reality yet at every casting interview you are directed about what to say and how to say it. The footage is directed and edited to suit the purpose of the production first and foremost and the concern is ratings and nothing else. There’s no uncovering of a deeper meaning in any of these shows that I have noticed and I have suffered through a few of them hoping for something good to come of it.
- Producers and casting agents don’t do their homework. They have hardly any idea about who is or isn’t respected in the tattoo community (unless they ask Oliver)… and that’s only one perspective. It takes constant research to keep up with that!
- Their main objective is to sensationalize which goes along with ratings again but it makes the whole thing unauthentic. We can tell. Not everyone is a drooling idiot.
- They treat artists like fresh meat. They just riffle though them like a douche bag on a quest to see how many one night stands they can get.
- Tattoo artists aren’t actors! So just hire actors and write a good script already! Hire us to draw on the tattoos!
- Be creative and pick a new topic you’ve already beat this one to DEATH! Do a reality show about a dive bar and the bar flies who go there…anything!
- Tattooing is boring to watch! Unless you’re getting a tattoo or doing one it’s basically uneventful!!!!! Get over it! It’s time for a “where are they now”, a reunion show, with dream sequence and montages of the highlights of those old shows! If you want to do something exciting pick an artist to follow and see what it’s like to be in that persons shoes….. Even then you will probably figure out that all we do is draw and look at books!!! Unless you pick a “model” with big tits and then we can just watch hours of bouncing tits. No talking please, it’s unnecessary! No one wants to hear the word “tattoo” over and over.
The “reality” is that it takes immense dedication, fortitude, time and money to be a tattoo artist or a serious tattoo collector. Most of this is lost in the flashy bullshit you see on these shows. How about a no bullshit TV show? Ever see the movie Network ? Give me the raw Truth! So I don’t mean to be snarky. I’m all for promoting a healthy outlook on our culture but I just feel they are missing the mark a little bit. I can’t say I could do better but if I had a million dollar budget I bet I could.
By Oliver Peck(er)
Last week I continued my journey and went from Stockholm, Sweden to Limerick, Ireland to meet up with Ross Nagle and Dale Turner at Allstar Tattoo. Ross is one of my favorite tattooers and his business partner and shop manager Dale is a one-of-a-kind-guy, I love them both! I have guest-spotted there a few times in the last year or so. I love it there it is an awesome shop and all the guys are the best! Ross Nagle is an amazing tattooer, if you are not familiar with him you should definitely check him out and get a tattoo if possible, he will be coming through the States a few times this year. Ross is coming to Dallas in late April to work with me a few days at Elm St. then we are heading out to the Fresno tattoo convention, he will also be working the State of Grace convention in October… (more…)
By Oliver Peck(er)
Alright, I was at the 18th Helsinki Ink Tattoo Convention (TAT CON! As l like to call them). It was a great show and the people who put it on (Kimmo Rosti and Tony Raita) do a great job and do everything the right way, taking care of the artists, providing copy machine, thermofax and cute girls to operate them… And they know how to operate them, which is not always the case. They are both tattooers, Tony Raita tattoos at Otherside Ink and Kimmo Rosti tattoos at Vida Loca Tattoo… (more…)
By Oliver Peck(er)
(Foreward by Crash)
We have finally convinced Oliver Peck to give us some regular blogs from the road. Everyone who knows O’Peck knows that he lives a rare sort of tattoo life, full of travel, adventure and goddamn great tattoos! He’s going to be sharing some of that with us… But before we even get going, I asked him to make a few comments on his personal experience of doing the Ink Master television show, just to get it out-of-the-way.
Personally, I’ll say that Oliver is one of the most genuine people you will ever meet, in any walk of life, and of ALL the tattooers I know, he’s the guy who should be on TV! A tattooer’s tattooer, bar-none!